As we know many children get sick but germs may be lurking in the most unexpected of places ... the lunch box!
"Kids don't always wash their hands before handling their lunch boxes and food," says Natasha Haynes, a family and consumer science agent for Mississippi State University. "Since most lunches include finger foods, it's easy to see how germs and bacteria can make kids sick."
If children are eating from the tuckshop, she recommends them not putting the food directly onto a table but to put it on a napkin or piece of paper towel so as to avoid surfaces that have been used by multiple people.
Both adults and children need to follow good hygiene and food safety practices when packing the school lunches. Hands should be clean along with the work surface and the lunch box itself.
It is important to wash fresh fruit and vegetables before including them in the lunch box and, if perishables are included, be sure to include a food-safe ice pack in the lunch box to avoid food-borne illnesses such as salmonella and E.coli due to improper storage of food.
It is wise during the hotter summer months to choose foods that don't require refrigeration, such as dried fruit and nuts, crackers, hard-boiled eggs and canned foods such as tuna and fruit.